PopPolitics: Dan Aykroyd on Blues Brothers, Political Comedy and ‘A Capitol Fourth’ (Listen)

Dan Aykroyd will be performing in Washington along with Jim Belushi on Tuesday as the Blues Brothers, part of the lineup for this year’s “A Capitol Fourth,” the Fourth of July annual celebration to air on PBS.

They’ll be joined by host John Stamos and others performers including Trace Adkins, the Beach Boys, the Four Tops, Chris Blue and the National Symphony Orchestra.

On the latest edition of Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, Aykroyd talks about why this non-partisan tradition is so important, as well as the role of comedy in politics and in diffusing political divisions.

“It is psycho-chemically necessary for mankind to survive,” Aykroyd says.

He calls Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of President Trump “excellent,” and recalls portraying Richard Nixon for Second City at the time that Nixon resigned.

“I was basically on stage the night he resigned,” Aykroyd said, recalling a routine where he tried to imagine what Nixon would do afterward, like taking on the role of a TV ad announcer. It’s still funny today. Aykroyd went on to portray Nixon on “Saturday Night Live” in skits written by Al Franken and Tom Davis, as well as Jim Downey.

Aykroyd said that he was looking forward to the event because it is “celebrating the most generous nation on earth. Anyone who can get into America can make something of themselves.”

He’s a native of Canada, but said that the traditions of Canada Day, on July 1, and Independence Day in the United States have many similarities. The first Fourth of July he remembers spending in the United States was in the mid-1970s, when John Belushi rented a beach house in the Hamptons and a group of their friends spend what was a “Yankee afternoon.”

Aykroyd also is passionate about the role of immigration in the United States and Canada.

“As a Canadian I don’t comment on American politics and they don’t call me for advice, but I think immigration fuels North America, and it is to be encouraged,” he says. “We’re prospering from it.”

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs from 11-noon PT/2-3 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

More Biz

  • Santos Dumont

    Mipcom: International TV Output Picture Changing for U.S. Majors

    The global import-export strategies of the U.S. majors are in flux as the world’s major content companies gather this week in Cannes for the annual Mipcom market and conference. Disney, WarnerMedia and the other handful of media conglomerates that control the vast majority of the U.S. market are in the midst of a radical transition [...]

  • Jane Fonda Arrested

    Jane Fonda Arrested in D.C. During Climate Change Protest

    Jane Fonda was arrested on Friday in Washington, D.C. during a climate change protest, Variety has confirmed. “Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 16 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki said in a statement to Variety. She added that all were charged with crowding, [...]

  • Firefighters battle the Saddleridge fire in

    Saddleridge Fire Forces Evacuations, TV Production Shutdowns

    A wind-whipped wildfire has spread across parts of the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles and forced evacuations, threatened thousands of homes and closed parts of five major freeways. The Saddleridge fire has prompted mandatory evacuations affecting about 100,000 people between Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and Sylmar. Mandatory evacuations have been called for about [...]

  • amazon-studios

    Amazon Studios Pacts With Howard University for Entertainment Education Program

    Howard University and Amazon Studios have teamed to launch Howard Entertainment, a two-semester program based in Los Angeles that offers Howard students the ability to take courses, network with Amazon industry partners and gain work experience in the entertainment industry. The inaugural program will begin January. The curriculum and immersive experiences will start with academic [...]

  • Remembering Prince

    Prince Estate Slams Trump Campaign for Playing ‘Purple Rain’ at Minneapolis Rally

    The Prince Estate strongly criticized the Trump campaign for playing “Purple Rain” at a Minneapolis rally in which the president made multiple aggressive and juvenile comments about Democratic leaders, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and Jay-Z. In a statement posted on social media, the Estate wrote, “President Trump played Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ tonight at a campaign event [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Wins Dismissal of Retaliation Claim in Harassment Suit

    A New York judge on Thursday dismissed a claim that Charlie Rose retaliated against three female employees who complained of sexual harassment. Judge Doris Ling-Cohan found that while Rose had allegedly disparaged the women — calling one a “f—ing idiot” and another a “f—ing kindergartner” — his comments did not amount to retaliation under the [...]

  • James Murdoch

    James Murdoch's Lupa Systems Takes Minority Stake in Vice (Report)

    James Murdoch has purchased a minority stake in Vice Media, the once-upstart brand that is trying to reconfigure itself as many prominent digital-media brand grapple with a wave of consolidation, according to a new report. The Financial Times reported that Murdoch’s investment vehicle, Lupa Systems, has secured a small ownership stake in Vice. A spokeswoman [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content